In 2019 I was chosen to be the Artist in Residence at the Wealden Literary Festival 2020. Due to covid this was postponed to 2022, which gave me the very lucky opportunity of having three years to immerse myself in residency outcome ideas.
I began my residency by visiting the garden Boldshaves, in which the festival is held, at various times to gain inspiration. The most notable thing was how different it looked each visit and how quickly it would change. The diversity of flowers, plants and colour, plus their change in size, the weather and temperature, and the light, all came down to one thing: the change in season.
Although many choices within the garden are by man, for example, which plants are chosen and where they are placed, it is so lovely that gardening is one of the remaining pursuits still controlled by nature, and we simply act as guides. This is very much how I see my artist practice, being an artist who collaborates with the land constantly. The natural environment provides the material and I facilitate how said materials can be used to their best potential.
My body of work for the festival celebrates Boldshaves through experiments with colour.
I have created a series of stretched fabric patchworks made up of naturally coloured pieces of fabric sewn together. The patches are dyed, stained and painted with almost all natural material found in the garden and woodland at Boldshaves throughout the year. This includes plants, earth and metal. Each canvas represents one of the four seasons in colour, plant matter, and fabric type.
Many of the natural matter used to dye, stain and paint has also been made into pigment or ink to create a limited edition set of artist pigments and inks for the festival.
The first canvas ‘Spring at Boldshaves’ consists of five types of cotton patches. The materials used include dock leaves, rosemary, alder catkins, chamomile, buttercups and marigolds. The dyeing techniques include dye baths and hammering.
Boldshaves in Spring
84 x 84 cm Cotton patches dyed with plant matter from the festival’s location, sewn together.